People: Life alone on the farm

Apau Neori on the farm in Naitasiri. Picture: WAISALE KOROIWASA

Sometimes you have to be straight up with people because they don’t realise what you go through, says Apau Neori. Neori, who looks after a farm in Naitasiri, lives alone.

He lives life a day at a time, but has come to realise how communicating with other human beings is important to maintaining your sanity. When this newspaper caught up with him, Neori was excited to share his life story.

Neori was straight forward in his response to questions and when asked about his biggest challenges he replied: “For me I really need a helper and maybe a wife because after a tiring day I always feel lonely.

When I am farming I feel like taking to someone because I talk to the things I plant,” said the 43-year-old.

He said after six months he was able to speak and see his relatives after being away for too long.

Now that he is not able to travel outside the Sawani containment border, Neori said he was able to save enough money to buy a smartphone so could talk to his loved ones through Facebook messenger app.

“Being a full-time farmer for the past two years, most of the time I work alone, I desire to have someone by my side,” said the Nabouono, Dogotuki, Macuata native.

“I farm five days a week and all my time is spent here in the farm. When I’m done with farm work I have to cook my food, clean my clothes and go to sleep because there is no one to talk to. At times I wonder that a companion would be best for me.”

Neori left school at a young age and opted to farm to help his dad.

“I attended Nadogo District School and that was enough for me. I live most of my youth life in the village and in 2003 during the Methodist Church of Fiji conference I was part of my village choir. I made the trip to Suva and have been on Viti Levu since.

“Life in Suva was different from what I experienced in the village. I also realised that everything costs money. While I lived with my relatives I started to look for work to support them. I first worked at the Formskaff Fiji Ltd and later joined RB Patel.

“Because I was living with my relatives in Davuilevu I switched my working place and joined Hanson Supermarket in Narere because it was a conveniently close. I became sick and was not able to continue working so I stayed home for a few years to recover.”

Neori said a relative visited him and asked if wanted to work.

“I said yes. The arrangement was that I stayed on the farm and my boss stayed in Namadi Heights. What I didn’t expect and never really knew that it was a farming community and houses were located far from each other.

“As days went by I started to feel homesick and lonely. The owner of the farm is Chinese and we hardly talk because of language barrier.

“Its not like when you have someone by your side you can talk to, tell jokes and even share your life with.”

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